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Alex Mattsson SS14
Alex Mattsson SS14

Warped Visions

Alex Mattsson reveals the ten ground rules to his futuristic design approach

Alex Mattsson and CAT’s groundings are not dissimilar, with both finding reference in utility and practicality.  With the injection of Mattson’s streetwear aesthetic, CAT’s workwear heritage has been re-envisioned for SS14. Mattsson’s warped vision of utilitarian clothing brings out an extraterrestrial element in CAT’s iconic footwear.

Having recently launched their Fashion Your Future initiative dedicated to discovering and supporting the next creative pioneers, CAT are on the lookout for designs to take a place on their production line. Through financial support, promotion and mentoring from a prestigious panel of industry leading judges, the incentive will support upcoming designers who embody the same hard-work aesthetic as Mattsson. An individual whose urban tendencies have named him one of Selfridges' Bright Young Things last year, it's no wonder he's been chosen to impart his industry knowledge at a workshop with the footwear brand at the London College of Fashion next Monday, 11th November.

In anticipation of the workshop and CAT's Fashion Your Future, Mattsson runs us through his ten-point guide from concept to design – touching on his fascination with documentaries and streamlining his creative vision. 


“I’m obsessed with the internet! It’s never-ending and mostly unedited. I love watching UFO documentaries. I can easily watch two or three documentaries every night. Last night consisted of a documentary on Caligula, the insane Roman emperor, a documentary about gangs in Detroit and a BBC documentary about technology of the future presented by Michio Kaku – eclectic to say the least.”


“Simple. Don’t make the same mistake twice – you will make plenty of mistakes. I really wish I was better at following my own advice.”


“I used to be scared of realising my ideas. It can be hard trying to recreate a ‘perfect’ vision in an imperfect world; but when you push through, you will realise that your ideas are worth more in physical form than in your head.”


“Find that thing you do better than the others.It took me years to find myself as a designer. During my education, I wanted to push my creative vision to the extreme and this culminated in my RCA graduate collection. Only after exploring my creative boundaries did I feel like I understood myself as a designer. I could then get on with streamlining and perfecting my vision into a commercial luxury menswear label.”


If you want to start your own label you will rely on your technical skills, so make it your mission to gain as much technical experience as possible. Internships are a great way of gaining experience in garment making. Know the rules before you break them.”


Don’t force yourself to follow the path you have set up with your research. Sometimes new ideas come to you whilst working. Don’t be afraid to change the path of your project if you think the outcome will be better.When I work on a collection I change my mind all the time. Not so much the inspiration, but the design. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’m never scared of cancelling designs however much time I spent on it.”


“You can find inspiration anytime and anywhere so always keep a sketchbook with you – there's no time to waste so having an idea-bank in your pocket comes very handy.”


“It is said that it takes 10,000 working hours to master a profession, so be patient and get to work! I don’t know if I can call myself an expert as there is so much more to learn, but the confidence that comes with experience has been vital to setting up and running my label.”


“Personally I prefer to design on my laptop with a Wacom tablet, using illustrator and photoshop. When I started my first year BA degree I quickly realised I needed to find a good way of illustrating my ideas, as hand drawing wasn't my strong suit. I was a bit of a computer geek in my younger years so I went down the road of CAD and never looked back.”


“Whilst designing it can be really helpful to collect and experiment with different materials, techniques and colours. I usually do fabric research all the way through the design process. Sometimes the material ‘tells’ you what you should make out of it. Kind of a reverse design process where the available materials inspire the design and product.”

For your chance to be part of the Fashion Your Future campaign, click here.